Are You Considering a Standby Generator Installation This Hurricane Season?

Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Blogs, Generators | Comments Off on Are You Considering a Standby Generator Installation This Hurricane Season?

Are You Considering a Standby Generator Installation This Hurricane Season?

Florida homes and businesses play the odds each year, hoping this one isn’t the year that a big hurricane finally makes its way onshore. Forecasters at NOAA are predicting that the 2016 hurricane season will be the worst one since 2012, when Hurricane Sandy did so much damage further up the coast into New England. We got lucky with Sandy in south Florida, but the odds are getting better every year that a big one will hit our coast and do serious damage to the infrastructure.

Even if your home is slightly away from the beach and flooding isn’t a big danger for you, power outages can happen, leaving residents without electricity for days. Your best defense against this happening is a standby generator. This type of backup power supply is a lot like homeowner’s insurance: you hope you never have to use it, but you keep it around because it’s invaluable when you do.

The Importance of a Standby Generator

Losing your power for a matter of minutes or hours is an annoying inconvenience, but during a hurricane a power outage is more likely to last for days. The impact on families can range from financial to real physical danger. Some of the problems that arise during an outage can be:

  • Loss of money because of refrigerated and frozen food spoilage
  • Loss of income for people who work at home using a computer
  • Increased stress on family members from children not used to living without electronic devices
  • Health hazards to those who need medical devices such as nebulizers or CPAP machines
  • Environmental impact as extra spoiled food is added to landfills and sewer lines

Even something as simple as charging phones and tablets can be impossible during a power outage, and might be key in keeping in contact with family members in other endangered areas. For comfort, financial reasons and even physical safety, it’s important to seriously consider a standby generator if you live anywhere in southern Florida.

What Type of Power Outage Protection Do You Need?

The simplest form of backup power protection is a portable generator. Small and light enough for one person to move, these machines are effective in powering almost everything you need to keep yourself comfortable during a power outage. The size of the generator you need depends on what you want to run. The least expensive versions are enough to keep on a few lights, make sure the refrigerator and freezer are still running, keep you cool with a fan or two and make sure your electronic devices are powered up.  More heavy duty versions are powerful enough to run central air conditioning, keep your whole house lit and make sure your desktop work space is running like normal. They’ll also power critical systems like home security and sump pumps.

A whole home generator is a more permanent type of power outage protection. They’re built in as a part of your home’s electrical system, and powered by a fuel such as natural gas. These generators are fixed in place, usually behind the house, and are usually a planned-for part of the original home building plans. Depending on the size of your generator, you can live through a power outage and never have it affect you in your daily life.

Portable vs. Whole Home Generators

Which type of generator do you need for hurricane protection? Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Portable versions are much less expensive, need no professional installation and can be fueled with ordinary gasoline much like a lawnmower. They can be stored away as needed instead of sitting out and taking up part of the landscaping.

Whole home generators, on the other hand, are a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Once you have the generator installed into your home system and with a fuel line attached, it will automatically kick on any time the power turns off for more than a few seconds. You’ll never have to worry about food spoilage or long outages. Plus, since they run on fuel that’s always available, they’re more reliable than portable versions. When the power’s out, you may not be able to get more gasoline for your portable generator.

Portable backup power supplies are useful for the short term, but when it comes to serious hurricane protection, your best choice is almost always a whole home generator.